The view from the cliff off the Pacific Coast Highway is stunning. This is the road motorcyclists and performance car drivers long for. Its twists and turns hug the Northern California coastline like a snake slithering in the roadside grass. Car commercials are filmed here.
Where is this sweet spot on the Sonoma coast?
From Bodega Bay to the fringes of Jenner, the PCH (Highway 1) resembles Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Yet today this ride doesn't end at Disneyland; the car stops at Timber Cove Inn.
Longtime Bay Area residents know the Timber Cove Inn as the place to ride out a storm, with its ocean view and fireplace rooms. The Inn has "good bones," as they say about a structure's design and solidness, but after 52 years, she is in need of another facelift. With new ownership, the inn is starting to make changes, bringing in Executive Chef Benjamin St. Clair, General Manager Keith Hill and Food and Beverage Manager Jason Gibson. With 48 rooms, the hotel is being renovated slowly, so as not to disrupt guests.
In addition to abalone diving, boating and hiking, there's something new on the Sonoma Coast. Fort Ross Vineyards has opened a tasting room up the road from Timber Cove, offering wine tasting, along with stellar views. This recently approved Fort Ross-Seaview American viticultural area (AVA) overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
Cavalia canters into San Jose
Imagine Cirque de Soleil
Carmel's La Playa gets facelift
Further down south, Carmel's La Playa, the grande dame of Carmel-by-the-Sea, has undergone a $3.5 million dollar renovation for its planned Aug. 1 opening. What is now the main entrance of La Playa once served as the 1905 mansion of a Ghirardelli family member.
New non-stop flights coming to SFO
Love to travel to exotic places, but hate doing the airport hussle and changing planes? United Airlines will begin daily nonstop service from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Taipei, Taiwan and Paris, France beginning April 2013. On my 2013 bucket list, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will offer six weekly non-stop flights from San Francisco to Copenhagen beginning in April.
The airport hustle ... It's not a dance -- it's what you do when you have scant minutes to make a connecting flight. We've all seen someone do the mad dash to the airline gate.
Imagine if you could ride a scooter through the airport. But wait -- it gets better. What if your luggage was attached to that scooter? The folks at Kickboard USA have done just that with the creation of Micro Luggage. No driver's license required, but you must be 18 years or older to ride this three-wheeled, check-point complaint scooter.
My July 6 column about France misspelled Joie de Vivre, river Tarn, l'Esprit du Vin, Pierre Soulages' last name and Valentre bridge.